Monday, December 7, 2020

#MommyMondays: How I'm Managing the Holidays As My Baby Starts to Eat With Us

 By Jo Anne

With the holidays coming up, all I can think about is spending time with family, friends, and food!

Bj Sippy Cup
Bj enjoys his sippy cup with his dad.
BJ has now reached the age where eating has become his favorite hobby, second to dancing, that is. But now that he’s at the dinner table with us, we have come across many trials and errors on utensils, cups, and more.

BJ began eating solids at about four months and since then, we have gone through multiple cups, spoons and bibs, you name it. 

Papi and I finally learned what the best items are for us AND Baby BJ. When registering for baby feeding products, I didn’t do enough research nor was I given advice on which ones I should keep and/or return. 

So for my first time and fellow mommas, here are some recommendations for when your little one is ready to start feasting with the family. 

Ready to Eat!

Most mommas don’t think to register for these items because they’re mostly concerned about the newborn stage, but trust me, it was convenient to have these items in house instead of having to order it online or run to the store when we needed it immediately.

Monday, November 2, 2020

2020 Creative Climate Awards Celebrate the Intersection of Art Activism, Inequality, and Climate Justice in Uncertain Times

Fifteen artists from the five boroughs unite to champion diversity, justice, and climate awareness —

NEW YORK, NY (October 29, 2020) - The Human Impacts Institute (HII) today announced its 10th annual Creative Climate Awards (CCA) to help reinvigorate the city of New York with art and activism. In one of the most difficult years on record for both local artists and climate justice initiatives, the CCA has invited select cultural institutions from each of the five New York boroughs to send artists to perform, showcase, and enlighten this year’s audience. 

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sunday Soul Session: Seasons Come, Seasons Go

By Missy E.

“2020 is a very limited edition version of yourself” - @chubbynavyblue

Pause for one second. Think about something for me and vibe with me. What month is it? November. What year is it? 2020 (oof). What does it feel like outside? Is it warm? Is it cooler? Ah, now, realize that this is a new season we are all in as a world. November 2020 hasn’t ever happened before and yet, here we are - living and breathing in this particular chapter of human history. 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Multi Grammy-Winning Artist Lecrae to Perform at St. Clair Prison in Alabama on Sept. 11

 Washington, D.C. Prison Fellowship®, the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, is partnering with multi Grammy Award-winning platinum artist Lecrae to perform at a Hope Event™ for men at the St. Clair Prison in Springville, AL.  That prison is one of America's most violent prison systems. Here's an excerpt from a 2019 news article:

"Is this why it’s so hard to fix Alabama’s legacy prison problems? Indifference to human suffering justified by contempt for criminals, how does it persist in a place full of people who claim to be Christian?

The majority of people in Alabama prisons are poor and black. The people who care about them have been drowned out by a mindset of tough on crime, regardless of the consequences ... Will Alabama see this through or continue to look away? The clock is ticking."

Monday, August 31, 2020

#MommyMondays: How I Managed Self-Care During PostPartum

Mommy Monday author Jo Anne
breastfeeds her son, BJ.
By Jo Anne 

This past week was a rough one in terms of breastfeeding as National Breastfeeding Month commenced with World Breastfeeding Week. Though I am not completely ending my breastfeeding journey, I am still having a difficult time because the one thing I have control over that no one else could have done for my son -- is finally coming to an end.  

Monday, July 6, 2020

#MommyMondays: Pump, Pump It Up!

By Jo Anne

Does anyone else feel the need to clean a little (or a lot) more during this time? Our loved ones are already susceptible to diseases with the lack of immunizations, so I can imagine us mommies are feeling the need to be more diligent about hygiene and sanitizing (on top of everything else we already have to do). 

With that, the next product I recommend applies to both nursing and non-nursing mothers, which is a bottle sterilizer, specifically the Baby Brezza One Step™ Baby Bottle Sterilizer Dryer

Monday, May 18, 2020

#MommyMondays: Sunshine and Sunscreen

By Jo Anne
Jo Anne
Summer is quickly approaching and some of us mommies (and daddies) are wondering if we’ll be swimming in public pools at this point. But one thing we shouldn’t be concerned about is if our little one’s skin is protected in this summer heat, especially for those who live anywhere in Texas. Well I’d like to introduce my favorite summer skincare products, Tubby Todd’s PLAY Mineral Sunscreen and Sunstick!
I was hesitant about applying additional chemicals to BJ’s skin due to the amount of steroids I’ve had to use on his neck rash. The PLAY sunscreen, however, uses mineral ingredients instead of chemical active ingredients that are used in most of the other children’s sunscreens. Because of this, I didn’t think twice about purchasing the sunscreen before our trip to Miami in March (before strict social distancing went into effect in Texas).

Monday, May 11, 2020

#MommyMondays: Reflecting on my First Mother's Day

By Jo Anne
Jo Anne
As Mother’s Day passed, all I could think about was how quickly these past eight months have gone by. As hard as motherhood may feel, I would say it pretty much comes naturally, but also passes within the blink of an eye. And for all you mothers who think they’re not doing enough or always have a basket of laundry unfolded (which has always been the case for me since I started doing laundry), you are doing amazing.

For most of my fellow first-time mommies, we made it to our first Mother’s Day and I think that counts as a lot.

Monday, April 27, 2020

#MommyMondays: Things I Wish I Knew To Register For (Or Shouldn't Have Registered For) + Other #MommyLife Hacks

A Personal Product Review For My Fellow First-Time Mommies

by Jo Anne

Jo Anne
Before I begin my first review, I must give a major shoutout to my hubby for being the best! His job isn’t just finished when he gets off work. He comes home and does his part as a husband and father. It’s very important to have a support system! Remember: it takes TWO to tango.

Introducing M Report Contributor: Jo Anne Castillo

The M Report would like to introduce a new voice to the conversation - Jo Anne Castillo! We're so excited to share insight from the new mom. She'll host #MommyMondays with brand new content.

Let's get to know Mama Jo! 

Jo Anne

M: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do?
I am from Stafford, Texas, born and raised. My normal nine to five is being a Tax Analyst for a Fortune 500 company. But my real job is being a wifey and mommy!

M: Tell us about your journey into motherhood aka tell us about your baby!
I am the mother of a sweet seven-month old baby boy, BJ, who loves to keep Papi (nickname for my husband Bryan) and I on our toes! BJ's favorite show is "Puppy Dog Pals" and anything Mickey on Disney Jr. If BJ's not eating or sleeping, he’s probably chewing on a TV remote or trying to climb whatever’s in sight. My journey into motherhood has been exciting, yet frightening, however, we couldn’t imagine life without Baby BJ.

M: What’s the best thing about being a mother?
Knowing that there’s a tiny human being whose life depends on me and thinks I hung the moon and stars in the sky.

M: What’s the most challenging?
Also knowing that there’s a tiny human being whose life depends on you ... but I guess you could say not knowing what to expect. Once you think you have one thing down, it changes the next day.

M: How has the pandemic impacted your new chapter into motherhood?
Though this pandemic has been an unfortunate event for the world, it has also been a blessing in disguise to be at home with BJ and watch him grow. My husband and I are fortunate enough to work from home and we have learned to appreciate what matters most - faith and family.

M: What’s your advice to young women out there who are unsure about becoming a mom?
There is no such thing as being “ready” to be a parent. Nothing in life will or can prepare you to be a mother, no book or course. But the lessons learned along the way are the most rewarding.

Click "Read More" for the adorable photo of Jo Anne's family.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sunday Soul Session: Faith Grows in Quarantine

By Allyson Escobar

In mid-March, I slipped into my local church for daily Mass on a rainy Friday morning, taking a back seat. The church wasn't filled, but Mass-goers were sprinkled throughout the pews; everyone sitting a few feet apart. We received the Holy Eucharist, celebrated the sacament, together in unison. 

A week later, all Masses in every diocese nationwide were cancelled. Daily and Sunday Masses quickly shifted to digital, Facebook and Instagram Live format. Parish events, weddings, Lenten fish-frys; everything was being rescheduled or altogether cancelled left and right. 

I had no idea that Friday Mass would be the last one I’d attend. The last time I’d get to consume the Holy Eucharist, at least for a little while. 
As a Catholic young adult living in the U.S., watching all of this happen slowly, then all at once, feels surreal. 

At first, the novel coronavius seemed distant, far away — something terrible happening somewhere else. Now the pandemic is not only local, but is spreading at a rapid, terrifying pace. As the world’s health heroes and researchers continue their selfless service day after day, those of us in self-quarantine, privileged to be at home, have been doing our small but mighty part. (And yes, it makes a difference.)

But in all the chaos, there has been connection. There are always reasons to smile, laugh, find hope and inspiration in this world. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Sunday Soul Session: Paving Forward Properly

(Photo: Missy Enaje)
By Missy E.
There seems to be this huge disconnect as we rush forward with individualism and personal achievements. Like the awards, diplomas and certificates on the wall are what we've been missing this whole time. That's not to say personal achievements shouldn't be celebrated, in which case, they absolutely should because symbolic to that paper are hours of blood sweat and tears drenched in determination. 
But what about character? No longer as adults do we come home with 'kindness, gentleness and humility' awards - and neither should we (mothers are exemptions, they're superhuman). Because a means to an end signifies duty instead of free-will. If I do something nice, in return, I'll get something back. Instead, if I freely choose to love, it signifies something deeper.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sunday Soul Session: Desires

I have been hearing and reading the words that follow along the lines of  “God honors our desires.”  Divine intervention would have it, but even my mom has been recycling that phrase recently. Yet one thing that keeps popping up in my heart the more I read it or contemplate those words - is that goodness, gracious it’s true.

When we think about those words “God honors our desires” - it sounds so lofty, doesn’t it? It sounds like there’s this high and mighty person in a cloud just zapping desires into fruition like a genie in the sky. But goodness gracious, is that anywhere further from the truth.

My experience with those words is quiet and humbling. That’s because, just like the Scripture that talks about how God speaks not through some tumultuous roar or some flashy headline, it’s that, in my experience, God speaks through the quiet of our heart.